AFTER ALL the bluster from Boris Johnson about delivering Brexit and that leaving the EU by October 31st was a ‘do or die’ issue, it is becoming increasingly clear that he has no intention of carrying this pledge through.
Earlier this week, Johnson retreated from all the boastful rhetoric designed to portray him as the Tory ‘man of steel’ taking over from a weak and feeble Theresa May, when he admitted that he is planning for Britain to stay in the EU customs union and single market for another two years.
Johnson went further when he categorically stated that the prospect of the UK leaving without a deal is ‘vanishingly small’. Johnson isn’t preparing for a no-deal Brexit. He is heading down the same road as Theresa May.
May also insisted ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and pledged to leave the EU only to accept a rotten deal that kept Britain tied to the single market and customs union and which embraced the backstop arrangement.
May’s deal was subjected to withering attacks by Tory ‘Leavers’ as a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result, none more so than Johnson and the current leadership he has gathered around him to ‘turbo-charge’ Brexit. This didn’t stop Johnson and fellow members of his new ‘Leave’ cabinet voting for May’s ‘withdrawal agreement’ in her final vote.
Johnson, in just a few days, has emerged as nothing more than Theresa May Mk 2, desperately hoping all his empty threats and posturing will secure a few minor concessions, keeping the UK tied to the EU for at least the next two years with the prospect of a protracted struggle by Tory and Labour ‘Remainers’ to use every trick in the parliamentary book and legal manoeuvrings to kill Brexit completely.
While all this double-dealing is being played out by Johnson and his cronies, the real struggle is underway in the working class to defend their jobs from an onslaught by the bosses and bankers determined to punish the working class for their decisive role in the 2016 referendum and at the same time dump the collapse of manufacturing industries on their backs.
This week, workers at Harland & Wolff occupied to prevent the closure of the historic Belfast shipyard and demanded that it is renationalised.
The Tories will not renationalise any industry. They have dismissed the threat of closure as just a ‘commercial’ issue, while renationalisation is illegal under EU law. The decisive action by shipyard workers in occupying to prevent closure is an example that workers throughout Britain will follow.
Car workers face a job slaughter with the French PSA company threatening to close the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port if the UK leaves the EU, while Ford is closing its engine plant in Bridgend joining car companies from Honda to Jaguar Land Rover in massive closures and thousands of job losses.
Dutch state-owned rail giant Abellio, which this year won the East Midlands train contract, has announced that it is taking away from Bombardier (one of the country’s oldest train manufacturers) the contract for building trains on its network. This decision will crash Bombardier and throw 1,600 highly skilled workers out of a job.
With manufacturing industry being smashed under the impact of the world crisis of capitalism and the drive by the bosses to make the working class pay and discipline them for voting to leave the bosses’ and bankers’ EU, the action taken by Harland & Wolff workers must be taken up throughout the entire trade union movement.
Every factory and plant threatened with closure must be occupied and the unions must organise a mass campaign of strikes to fight for every single job.
At the annual conference of the TUC in September, the union leadership must be instructed to call a general strike on October 31 to leave the EU and bring down the Johnson government to go forward to a workers’ government. If they won’t, they must be removed and replaced by a leadership that will carry out what is necessary.
A workers’ government will carry out the decision of the referendum and break with the EU on October 31st hand-in-hand with expropriating all the main industries and banks, placing them under the management and control of the working class as part of a planned socialist economy.
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